June 11, 2010

Apocalypse Now? (In the Gulf of Mexico).

Greetings readers! It has been a scary amount of time since I last wrote. The shocking thing is our individual perception of time in relation to certain events or activities. For example, it seems very long ago that I wrote my last article (the longest I've ever gone between articles, in fact). Yet, the oil spill seems so fresh and recent. Perhaps this has more to do with the actual importance of an event. I have no illusions that my articles are as important as what is going on in the Gulf at the moment. However, there are times in our lives when we become so saturated by an event or idea that it reserves a place in our subconscious and because it's always with us, it sort of loses its sense of immediacy and importance. But this is when the issue is MOST important. When we begin to be apathetic is when we must remind ourselves of this very global, inter-connected, high speed world that we exist within. For starters, take a look at this article, http://www.thebigmoney.com/articles/judgments/2010/06/07/bp-or-not-bp?page=full

More... If this article doesn't open up our reality to the fact that much graver injustices happen on a daily basis that we are unaware of, I don't know what will. America is a country known for our nearly manic generosity in the face of a well publicized natural disaster (usually in our own, Western Hemisphere). Yet, we are still extremely insulated. Perhaps this is no fault of our own, on an individual level. It could just be a lack of sufficient media attention, an overwhelming amount of power and money that private industry possesses, or, most likely, a combination of the two (and some other factors, I would imagine).

That being said, I know that there have been lots of people from all over who have rushed-- or wanted to rush toward-- the Gulf coast in order to volunteer in some form. Having gone on for so many weeks now, the concept of volunteering has become a bit tainted as not only are the cities, states, government and BP turning away most untrained volunteers, but the plume that is floating invisibly over the Gulf (think of a chemical cloud) is already accounting for respiratory damage in many who have been involving themselves in Gulf coast areas. So, while I don't have an answer to respiratory problems or to the actual spill itself, I do have some information that might be helpful for those who are unyielding in their desire to help in some way: http://www.oshacampusonline.com/keysspill-24-hour-hazmat.html

This website offers hazardous materials training courses for people who want to assist with this disaster and others that will, inevitably arise in the future. As we know, from reading the first article, the world is never short on oil-related tragedies. The whole idea of the Gulf coast debacle has brought to light some very intriguing dilemmas that our society must now realize and confront. Most importantly, in my opinion, is this concept of how far we are willing to go to destroy natural resources which, in almost every conceivable instance, at one time or another, we will end up paying a much greater amount in both dollars and our way of life, in order to then restore what we misused? The oceans and Everglades are just the beginning. To sustain the way that we currently live, significant risk is involved. We are using humans and nature as collateral. But perhaps we should not want to sustain this lifestyle. Maybe altering our lifestyle by becoming more knowledgeable about our own actions is precisely what is necessary in order to prevent such tragedies in the future.

I think that the moral of this lesson is that we need smarter people. We need engineers who can stop this leak and, more importantly, leaders and executives who have a desire to prevent the leak from occurring in the first place. I'm not saying education necessarily makes one more ethical. But this IS a goal of a liberal arts curriculum; Is it not? Go on to college and help us plug holes that are leaked from everyday, all around the globe.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the beginning of your summer. Be in touch.